Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paul's Picks! - Dec. 14th

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And in celebration of this weekly, well, celebration, Paul is here to give you his favorite book of the week.

Demon Knights #4 by Paul Cornell and DiĆ³genes Neves, featuring Michael Choi

Hey guys and gals! Sorry for the delay on my pick this week, finals had me on the ropes and I just couldn't manage to get all my books read and evaluated yesterday... But no fear! I may be a little tardy, but I've got my pick of the week ready for you, and I'm really excited about how things turned out this week. As a comic reader/collector, there are always going to be some weeks where you can't wait to burn through your pile of comics, because you know the titles you have are going to be top notch every time. On the other hand, there are those weeks where most of your books are going to be hit or miss. This week the heaviest hitter for me is typically Green Lantern by Johns and Manke (which has been really fresh and fun since the soft reboot), but you can never tell what's going to happen with titles like Batgirl or Demon Knights that could easily slip into the #1 slot.

Ooooo, ominous.
And so, as my bold heading above so aptly spoils, my pick for this week is... Demon Knights #4! It was a close race between this book and Batgirl, 'cause Gail Simone is doing some of her best writing on that book, as it's easily becoming one of the best reads of the new 52. However, in the end, Cornell's fantasy comic finally found itself where it belongs: sitting fat and happy at the top. When I was compiling my pull list for the New 52, Paul Cornell's two DC books were some of the first I new were going in. The man showed off his skills with the Black Ring run on Action Comics, and I was pretty much on board with whatever he had to offer. Although Stormwatch turned out to be kind of "meh," Demon Knights has been one of those books that surprises you every week, even when you're already expecting it to be good. Crazy, I know.

For me, this is one of those books that exemplifies what the DCnU is all about; it's a chance to give new life to old characters that have been either flat or out of sight for some time, while also making them accessible to new readers. Cornell has created an unlikely team(ish) book about a group of mystics and such set in medieval times. What's more fun than reading a team up of Vandal Savage, Jason Blood/Etrigan, and the Shining Knight? And you throw Merlin in to mix things up every once and a while, and you've got yourself a fantasy reader's dream. While I may read comics on a regular basis, I'm also a big fan of fantasy from Tolkien to Robert Jordan, so Cornell has kind of given me a "best of both worlds" book here that is just plain fun to read.

You know it's about to get real
when Merlin steps on the scene.
Seth's recent post about our "creed" or "purpose" here at AC was particularly critical of comic fans and readers, but I think there's also something to be said about the comic authors who are trying to be profound or intellectual but instead just come off as pretentious. Don't get me wrong, I like some of my comics to be literary or deep, but sometimes I just want to read something that's fun, you know? And Paul Cornell's Demon Knights is just that: unbridled, unapologetic entertainment. His characters crack jokes, there is very little brooding, and you never know what to expect from this very diverse group. As for the art, DiĆ³genes Neves brings it on every month with a style that is perfect for this kind of book. This particular issue, however, spends a lot of time dealing with the Shining Knight's backstory (thanks for that, since many of us don't know much about her), and quest penciller Michael Choi takes the responsibility on those pages. I mean no disrespect to Neves' art, which is very good, but I was particularly impressed with the pages done by Choi this time around, and I hope to see him back as the series goes on.

Sadly, Demon Knights isn't setting any records on sales. Cornell has already announced his departure from Stormwatch (which I don't begrudge him), but I truly hope something similar doesn't happen with this book, as it is one of the funnest reads of the New 52. If you're a reader, or even on the fence about it, please do all of us a favor and go buy this book! I promise you won't regret it, as it's good for some great art, awesome action, and really fun humor.

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